Sculptures under a great pipal tree on the terrace adjoining the Mahabodhi temple, Bodhgaya (Bihar). 28 December 1824
Artist: D'Oyly, Sir Charles (1781-1845)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of sculptures on the terrace adjoining the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya in Bihar, dated 28th December 1824, from an Album of 80 drawings of views in Bengal and Bihar taken between January 1823 and May 1825.
The Mahabodhi Temple complex is one of the holiest sites related to the life of the Buddha as it is the place where he attained enlightenment. The present temple dates from the 7th Century with later additions, and was built on the site of a previous temple erected by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. The temple consists of a central sanctuary with a tall pyramidal tower that is over 50 metres high and houses a large gilded image of the Buddha. The temple is built in front of the Bodhi Tree, the tree under which the Buddha obtained enlightenment, which is surrounded by a quadrangular stone railing that dates to the 2nd century BC. This image is the original drawing for plate 21 of 'Sketches of the New Road in a Journey from Calcutta to Gyah' (Calcutta, 1830). D'Oyly wrote: "The Pepul Tree, like the Banaian is sacred to the Hindoos and is preserved with devotional care. Under the trees are all their Shrines and Images, as well as burial Places, and to keep up the tradition that some are everlasting, young Plants are trained to supply the decay of the old and worn out Tree. That represented in the Plate rises from the bottom of the Terrace, which is in height about 30 feet, and is embraced by the Terrace, while round it, is a flight of steps. The dark grey stone Images are well sculptured."